First Isolation of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Fungal Causative Agent of White-Nose Disease, in Bats from Italy


White-nose disease, caused by the dermatophyte Pseudogymnoascus destructans, is a devastating pathology that has caused a massive decline in the US bat populations. In Europe, this fungus and the related infection in bats have been recorded in several countries and for many bat species, although no mass mortality has been detected. This study reports for the first time the presence of P. destructans in Italy. The fungus was isolated in the Rio Martino cave, a site located in the Western Alps and included in the Natura 2000 network. Twenty bats, belonging to five different species, were analysed. The fungus was retrieved on eight individuals of Myotis emarginatus. The allied keratolytic species P. pannorum was observed on two other individuals, also belonging to M. emarginatus. Strains were isolated in pure culture and characterized morphologically. Results were validated through molecular analyses. Future work should be dedicated to understand the distribution and the effects of the two Pseudogymnoascus species on Italian bats.

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Captures of bats were performed in the framework of bat surveys promoted and funded by the Ente di gestione delle aree protette del Monviso. Authors are grateful to Dr. Carolina Girometta and Dr. Carlo Cusaro for their support in the molecular analyses. Authors are thankful to Dr. Vishnu Chaturvedi and the anonymous reviewer, whose sound comments helped to improve the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to L. Garzoli.

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All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. Captures of bats were carried out under licence (Italian Environment Ministry m_amte.PNM.REGISTRO UFFICIALE.U.0007303.07-04-2017; Province of Cuneo prot. 2017/11.12/000009).

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Garzoli, L., Riccucci, M., Patriarca, E. et al. First Isolation of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Fungal Causative Agent of White-Nose Disease, in Bats from Italy. Mycopathologia 184, 637–644 (2019).

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  • Geomyces destructans
  • Myotis emarginatus
  • Pseudogymnoascus pannorum
  • White-nose syndrome